The tripod is the accessory that we first miss when we buy our first SLR camera and the first that we leave at home when we go out to photograph because of its weight and dimensions.
That is why I propose several models where I will indicate in addition to their characteristics, their size and weight so that you can decide which one suits your way of taking photography. As you will understand, you do not need the same tripod to take landscape photographs as one for travel photography , so think carefully about the use you are going to give it before buying it.
I hope this compilation of tripods for SLR cameras helps you in your difficult choice. There are many more models but in order not to go crazy I have chosen some with which you will be sure.
At the end of the article if you are interested you can read more about the situations in which using a tripod is highly recommended.
Tripod features you should be aware of
First of all, think about the use you are going to give your new tripod. Is it the first one you buy? Are you going to take him on a trip or go hiking with him? How high should it reach? Are you planning to use it as protection in case a Grizzly bear attacks you ?
Basically the main thing is that it is stable and it does not have to be the heaviest to offer this feature, although as you will understand it helps a lot.
I tell you what is essential for me:
- The legs should be able to be placed in various positions to suit any type of terrain.
- It is important that the end of the legs is made of rubber so that it does not slip , and that under the rubber there are spikes to be able to nail it to the ground in situations where the rubber does not help.
- Some models have a hook on the central bar to hang weight, it is an important aspect if the tripod is not very robust. Hanging a bag full of stones or the same backpack will provide more stability to the shot.
- Take note of how long the folded tripod is and the maximum and minimum height you can place your camera at. So you can get an idea of how it will adapt to your height.
- The legs are divided into sections, the more sections it has, the smaller it will remain once folded although it will lose stability. My recommendation is 3 sections for a sturdy tripod and 5 for a travel one.
- The carry bag is important and in many models it is sold separately. If you don’t want to spend money on one, you can always adapt straps to the ends of the tripod to transport it, even some photographic backpacks have a section dedicated to the tripod.
- The central column can be fixed or rotate on itself to leave the camera flush with the ground. If you practice macro photography you will appreciate this feature. In this list I leave you some recommended model .
- See how much weight it supports and if it can handle the weight of your camera and the heaviest lens you have.
- Some tripods are sold with a head included, think about whether the head fits the type of photography you are going to do. (I will write an article on types of tripod heads .)
Sturdy DSLR Tripods
Indicated for a more leisurely photography such as landscape photography where the wind can make the tripod move. Robust tripods that, although not cheap, are reliable enough to place a reflex camera and a lens without fear that they can fall and break.
Vanguard Alta Pro 263 AGH Tripod
One of the best-selling tripods for being one of the most complete and reliable on the market for the price it has.
Their characteristics are:
- Includes ball head with locking device in the position you want with smooth and precise movement.
- Central column configurable from 0 to 180º and rotatable, with a measure of 55 cm including the ball joint and shoe.
- The 3 legs adjust to all types of terrain at angles of 25, 50 and 80º and are divided into 3 sections .
- It reaches a maximum height of 174 cm with the center column extended and a minimum height of 72.5 cm.
- Capable of carrying a maximum of 6 kg, perfect for heavy SLR and telephoto cameras .
- Transport bag included in the box. Something that is appreciated, since other brands tend to sell it separately at exorbitant prices (Manfrotto), it is also very comfortable.
- It has a weight of 2.6 kg.
- It has a bubble level in the chassis.
Manfrotto MK055PRO3 professional tripod with head
This Manfrotto tripod is built in aluminum and is one of the most robust models capable of supporting up to 8 kg. Its price is higher than that of other models because it includes a Manfrotto 3D MHXPRO-3W professional head .
- It supports 8 kg of weight even with the central column positioned at 90º.
- Its legs can be configured in up to 4 different angles to place it in any position.
- Maximum height of 183 cm with extended column, 155 cm without column and minimum of 9 cm, perfect for macro photography .
- It weighs 3.5 kg, one of the heaviest, something to take into account when transporting it although yes, that weight makes it one of the most reliable and stable.
- 3D ball joint with folding controls included.
- Easy Link connector designed to attach accessories such as flashes or reflectors.
Recommended travel tripods
Benro IT 15 Aluminum Tripod
I bought it precisely to take it on trips or outings where I couldn’t carry a heavy Manfrotto 055 .
The fear that I had when buying a light tripod was the reliability and stability that would give me used to the robustness of a 3-kilo tripod with a head included but in the end it proved to be much more reliable than I expected and capable of withstanding gusts of major wind.
Its most outstanding features:
- It weighs only 1.25 kg .
- It has a bubble level.
- Ball joint included with 360º rotation.
- Maximum height of 147cm
- When folded it measures 38 cm, it is really small and fits perfectly in a suitcase.
- Despite its weight, it is capable of supporting a load of 8 kg, a SLR camera and a telephoto lens let’s go.
- Includes carry bag, plus point for Benro!
- Quick release shoe.
- The legs can be adjusted separately and are divided into 5 sections .
- The central column can be reversed to use the camera at ground level, especially focused on macro photography .
Tripod for compact cameras
Manfrotto Compact Action
- The kneecap allows you to pan and rotate 360º although it cannot be replaced by another.
- Maximum height 155 cm, minimum height 44 cm.
- The legs are divided into 5 sections and finished in rubber for a better grip.
- The central column measures 22 cm.
- Supports 1.5 kg.
- Transport bag included and quick shoe.
- It weighs 1.1 kg and when folded it measures 46 cm.
Although it could be used with SLR cameras together with lightweight lenses, I would not bet on this model to place one. It is preferable to choose another model for heavier cameras, this one in particular is designed for compact or light mirrorless cameras .
Cheap Tripods for Beginners
Hama Star 61 Tripod
My first tripod that I still use today to place spotlights or flashes. I would dare to say that it is the best-selling tripod, on Amazon it has more than 830 evaluations of which more than 700 are 4 or 5 stars.
With a price of low its performance is more than acceptable for those looking for a cheap tripod or to place their first camera. Of course, I would not trust him on windy days or I would not put him in the water with a camera and lens set that I am very fond of.
- It is suitable for any brand like the rest of the models, it has a universal 1/4 ″ thread on the removable shoe. I clarify this because by looking at the questions from Amazon buyers, someone may be asking you.
- Ball joint included suitable for photography and video.
- Maximum height of 153 cm and minimum of 60.
- It includes a small crank with which to raise or lower the central column.
- Legs finished in rubber for a better grip on many terrains, they are divided into 3 sections.
- Constructed of aluminum, it is really light.
- It supports up to 3 kg and it is recommended to use the hook on its central column to hang some weight and provide more stability.
- It has two spirit levels according to the plan.
- Transport bag included.
- Folded it measures approximately 63cm and weighs 1.2kg
Amazon Basics Tripod with Head
Although its price is somewhat higher than the previous Hama Star 61 model , that difference is worth it if you can squeeze your pocket a little more. Only in appearance can you see that we bought something superior. Its characteristics:
- Aluminum ball joint.
- Maximum height of 157.5 cm.
- Transport bag included.
- Quick shoe.
- The legs end in rubber but also inside there are spikes to nail the tripod to other surfaces.
- Legs divided into 3 sections.
- Built-in bubble level and pan wheel.
- Supports up to 4 kg.
- Weighs 1.6 kg
Other alternatives are the K&F Concept brand tripods, you can see the reviews of its two best-selling models in:
Photography Tripods – Aspects to Consider
If you have doubts about which tripod you should buy, I will list some situations in which this accessory can help you:
- Landscape photography : The tripod in this mode is really useful, it is true that the vast majority of photos that you can take in nature are taken by hand but the tripod will give you sharpness by being able to shoot with the camera securely held, in addition to the possibility to use a trigger cable and avoid the movement of our body. Recommended tripod or monopod robust . Take a look at the article on getting sharp photos .
- Long exposure photographs: Not only in night photography where the use of a tripod is mandatory, but in photographs that you take with neutral density filters such as the silk effect or shots at slow shutter speeds, you never know where you will find a stream in the middle of the forest that asks you to reduce the shutter speed to capture the movement of the water. In this case I recommend a sturdy tripod since the movement of the wind can ruin a photo of stars or it will also allow us to submerge the legs in the water without fear of the current knocking the camera down.
- Portrait photography : Once again, the sharpness is appreciated in portraits, especially of the face in which a tripod and a long-range lens have been used. Lightweight tripod or monopod.
- Indoor photos : In houses or rooms with low light it is essential to use a tripod, since a longer exposure than normal will make the room seem much brighter and when you are trying to sell or rent a house this makes a difference. Lightweight tripod.
- Still life’s or product photography : The tripod allows you to have your hands free to handle light sources or place the products, as well as shoot from a fixed position throughout the session. Lightweight tripod.
- Travel Photography : Cover different types of photos such as group photos, landscape, night, macro, etc. It can be cumbersome to travel with a tripod, so in this case it is advisable to choose a model that when collected takes up little space and its weight is as low as possible.
Buy an aluminum or carbon tripod
This doubt assails you the moment you start looking at tripods and becomes clear as soon as you see the price of carbon ones. No, seriously, the choice of one or the other depends on your budget and your level.
If you have just started I would recommend you not to spend a lot on extra material, a basic aluminum tripod is perfect to familiarize yourself with the use of this accessory and you will get excellent results. Later on you will realize that you need something more because every time you demand greater stability and reliability from your cheap tripod.
Also think that spending more than 1000 euros on a camera to place it on a tripod for less than € 30 at least seems too risky to me.
A carbon tripod is lighter and more comfortable for long hikes but it may not be the best option as a robust tripod, in which case I would buy a slightly heavier aluminum one, even if I had to sacrifice comfort.